#okavango14: Over Africa’s Wetland Wilderness

Sit back and enjoy almost three minutes of the Okavango Delta magic – a sneak preview of what we are going to share with you in the coming weeks. This cool footage was captured on a GoPro 3 mounted on a DJI Phantom and Zenmuse Gimbal during a visit to the Okavango Delta during the summer of 2013/14. The Okavango Delta from the air and from space…

The Okavango Delta as seen from space provides a unique view of the world’s 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site – a shining diamond in the middle of the Kalahari Desert…

With a drop in elevation of only 60m over the 250km from top-to-bottom, the Okavango Delta is mathematically flatter than a pool table. The most relief you are going to find is 2m on top of a termite mound – as flat as water… From the air the claustrophobic flatness and the closeness of the nearby vegetation stays behind as a patchwork mosaic of channels, floodplains, lagoons, waving papyrus, reedbeds and thousands upon thousands of islands unfolds in front of you.

Steve Boyes
Not knowing where you are in the vastness of the Okavango Delta can be overwhelming as you go deeper and deeper into the unknown wilderness. Wrong turns and short cuts that do not work can break the spirit and the back. (Steve Boyes)

Scattered in amongst the riverine forest, palms, scrubby bush and lush green floodplains are elephant, lion, hippo, giraffe, leopard, lechwe and sitatunga. This sanctuary for biodiversity has over 530 bird species, 160 different mammal species, 155 reptiles, 35 frogs, over 1,300 plant species, and innumerable insects and spiders. A wilderness with teeth, claws, rusks, horns and fangs that teach us everyday to respect every step and rejoice in the wilderness that remains.

Eight white-faced ducks and a lechwe as the survey continues... (Paul Steyn)

On the 17th August we will push off from Weboro Lagoon on the extreme NW edge of the Okavango Delta with the aim of completing our 5th crossing of the Okavango Delta as part of the Okavango Wetland Bird Survey and Okavango Cavity-Nesting Project. The wetland bird survey is a 9-year study focussed on better understanding the relationship between 72 wetland bird species and the annual flood regime. We look specifically at the receding flood when floodplains full of food and nesting sites become exposed and waterbird populations are concentrated to the last-remaining flowing channels.

fotokite 2Birds can chose with their wings and are far better at aerial surveillance than we are. To better understand their aerial perspective on this flat alluvial fan, we are bringing along a “fotokite” this year. Equipped with a GoPro 3 we aim to achieve even better results than this video clip. The tethered fotokite can be towed slowly behind the moving dug-out canoes or “mekoro”, providing a unique bird’s eye view of this remote wilderness. Just look at this magical photograph taken from space. The further out you go the more beautiful this magical place becomes… This is a place on Earth that needs to be preserved for future generations.

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#okavango14 when sharing anything “Okavango” or asking questions about the upcoming expedition!

Here is a cool video from the 2013 Okavango Expedition: http://youtu.be/Cm42bOy5fQg

Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.
  • Stan Young


  • crsanto D. Olaivar

    wow so nice places…the national geographics is my favorite channel.

  • cas buma-at

    Very beautiful place. I love national geography

  • Venessa

    okay while the branch is still bendable
    What do I possibly need to study to make this my life!!!!!!

  • Venessa

    okay!!! whatever should I study to make this my life!!!

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